Boston Victory closed out the 2012 Premier Development League in dubious fashion but managed to avoid last place in the Northeast Division despite losing 5-0 to title contenders GPS Portland Phoenix. Midfielder Joao Santos was sent off for the second time in as many weeks.
The Maine hosts kicked off knowing they had to settle for second place in the standings behind division winner Ottawa Fury and the Victory knew matching the result of the Vermont Voltage would keep them out of the basement. Vermont went down 4-2 to CFC Azul as Boston was outplayed in the sweltering heat at Scarborough High School in Maine.
Only two minutes into the game that kicked off in 90-degree temperatures, Portland captain Jason Massie concerted a cross from Blaike Woodruff to steal a 1-0 lead. The Victory fell further behind after 10 minutes when Santos committed a foul just inside the penalty area and Eric Anderson stepped up to dispatch the spot kick.
Eight minutes later the Phoenix effectively sealed all three points as Itode Fubara threaded the ball through for Ben Havey to delicately lift his shot over exposed keeper Jason Katz for the home team’s third goal.
It was rough justice on Katz, rewarded with his second straight start having kept a clean sheet on Wednesday night on his debut as Boston beat Worcester Hydra 1-0 to end their season at home on a winning note.
The Victory adjusted as Fabio Baros was replaced by Dan Ashman with only 20 minutes on the clock and the defender who had seen only one minute of previous action slotted in at right back as Nic Santarlasci moved into midfield.
Katz did well to save a well-placed goal-bound Anderson header in the 25th minute before the Victory enjoyed a rare foray forward as Manuel Veiga tested home keeper Will Dieterich from distance.
Halftime promoted three substitutions from the Phoenix and Boston introduced defender Tim Doyle for forward Paul Latif and again altered their formation.
Things turned ugly eight minutes after the break as Santos squared up to Rory Kennedy, head-butted the home defender and then the pair traded punches as players from both teams joined the melee. The players were eventually separated and shown red cards, the dismissal for Santos coming in his first game back from a two game suspension after he was sent off in stoppage time of a 1-1 draw at Seacoast United on July 5.
Hayk Kaya might have pulled a goal back after 73 minutes but failed to generate power or direction as he fired a ball headed back across goal by Veiga straight at the home keeper.
Portland had made four more personnel changes and one of the substitutes, Keegan Ziada, converted a cross from fellow sub John Murphy with 15 minutes to play.
Dave DeMelo ventured forward for Boston in reply and found Mohamed Elsayed Amhed, but the Egyptian’s finish was tame and held by sub keeper Aidan McParland.
Ziada turned provider from the left with a cross that Andrew Jones side-footed home from close range to complete the scoring.
The Victory’s best chance of the game came after 85 minutes and fell to Player of the Year Hellah Sidibe, whose trickery took him into the Phoenix penalty area, but his shot flashed across the face of the goal.